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Bembridge Illusion Trafalgar Trophy 2023

by Jeremy Spencer-Cooper 31 Oct 2023 12:50 GMT 28-29 October 2023
Bembridge Illusion Trafalgar Trophy 2023 © Jeremy Spencer-Cooper

With the Isle of Wight (and Bembridge in particular) under flood warnings, the second weekend of the Illusion 2023-2024 season was not looking too promising. However, in the event they did manage to get six scoring races completed, four on Saturday and two on Sunday.

On Saturday morning it was probably not too surprising there were a few fewer on the start line outside the harbour off Silver Beach compared to a fortnight earlier. The steady 10 -16 knot SW breeze allowed a long beat to be set and Bruce Huber led the thirteen boat fleet away but was soon passed by Mark Downer who maintained his lead extending it all the way to the finish. At the line, Mark was followed by Bruce, Rory Morrison and Jo Downer in quick succession. Tiger Tellwright in a 'Loaner ' boat discovered to his horror that too much tension on the backstay can over stress the boat and his deck parted from the hull; he was taken in tow and returned to the harbour before he sank!

Race 2 had another clean and saw a repeat of Race 1 as Mark duelled with Bruce Huber around the 1st lap before pulling away to take another bullet over a minute clear with Monty Irwin just keeping Bruce and Jo behind him; Rory came in 5th with only 20 second separating 2nd from 5th. The fleet was made back up to fourteen with the late arrival of Justin Biddle in No 85.

Race 2 start

As Race 3 got under way the wind was gusting up to 20 knots but the course was sufficiently in the lee of the Island to keep a relatively flat sea. Another clean start saw the fleet split tacks and when they came together at the windward mark, Mark had a slight lead over Bruce and a relative newbie, Sam Christie, in 149; at the finish, Mark led by over 30 seconds from Justin, Bruce and Mike Toogood. Sam came in 5th, a very creditable effort as he had no spinnaker.

The fourth and final race of the day followed the pattern of a clean start, with Mark and Bruce duelling all the way to the finish; Mark again prevailing followed by Bruce, Jo and Rory.

The dire forecast for Sunday did not appear until 3 hours later than forecast so the final 2 races were run in the Harbour, after a postponement to allow all the boats to get to the Line set off the Club.

A shorter course for Race 5 than Saturday's but still challenging with a shifty wind starting at 12 knots and falling to 7 knots by the finish. The very well behaved fleet of 9 boats had another clean start with Rory leading off the line; however, the inevitable happened and Mark passed him to take another bullet followed closely by Bruce, Rory and Jo.

Race 6's start saw the only X flag of the Regatta when Mark got over enthusiastic and had to be called back. As the fleet tacked up the Harbour, the weather came into play when the wind swung 80o left and dropped to 4 knots. The RO decided to shorten the race to 1 lap giving Bruce a long deserved victory. He was followed home by Justin Biddle, who, as ever, had missed the 1st race of the day only to take a 2nd place in his first race! Mark, having been OCS, had powered his way up to 3rd with the new Class Captain, Mike Toogood, in 4th.

Overall, Mark took the Trafalgar Trophy from Bruce in 2nd and Rory in 3rd.

No racing next weekend, as early/late tides. The weekend after (11th & 12th November) is the Guy Fawkes Trophy.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Mark Downer1641111135
2Bruce Huber10123322110
3Rory Morrison12035743922
4Jo Downer16644834823
5Mike Toogood142510485628
6David Peerless140713978435
7Oliver Morgan1696765SS40
8Mike Issaias1521391196540
9Alastair Speare‑Cole13511810117743
10Justin Biddle85S626SS46
11Monty Irwin147821210SS48
12Guy Lawrence8610121313S250
13Sam Christie1499115RSS57
14Will Lowe1501214141291057
15Tiger Tellright22RSSSSS80

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